You go down early, the sun barely lifting its head above the cove. It’s quiet, tranquil, just the way you like; always and only before Mathieu awakes. Timber cantilevered over giant boulders, barnacled driftwood, shale, and rock. You take the short trail, manoeuvring down onto the long stretch of beach. Soft sand nestling between your toes, textured with bits of crushed mussel, periwinkle, clam and hermit crab shells. Shards of lavender, pink, green, and cobalt blue sea glass warming up the palette. The water, glassy, sleek and silken.
You do not have much time. Soon it will begin all over again. The murmuring, the crying, the outbursts, bathing him, dressing him, feeding him, exercises to strengthen his gait, improve his balance, re-wire the brain they say…soon he’ll speak. And you hold it all in. And again. They tell you he’s not coming back. Not like how he was. But you don’t give up. You never do.
Instead, you slip the light fantastic wiping it all from your mind’s eye and pierce the glassy film like quicksilver. A cool, briny, membrane closes around you. Your skin firm and rubbery. Your body sleek, shaped like a submarine, undulates just below the surface. It is designed for speed and you head for open waters. Steering with your dorsal fin, it stabilizes your trajectory. Powerful muscles run along your backbone and sides, thrusting your tail up and down, pushing you farther and deeper into the shadow side.
And later when he wakes, you drizzle the briny liquid from a top his head, watching it cascade down over his eyes, cheeks, and lips…singing so very softly, watching, as the water heals him too.